Rasmussen: Obama’s presser backfired
posted at 10:15 am on July 25, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama obviously hoped to get a swell in support after his prime-time presser, both for his health-care initiative and for his own approval ratings. Until now, the president has wrung temporary boosts in polling from his major media appearances. Not this time, though, as Rasmussen shows that negative ratings for his polling increased in the two days after Wednesday’s prime-time press conference:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 30% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -9.
The number who Strongly Disapprove of the President has increased slightly following the prime time press conference on Wednesday night. That figure—39%–is now at the highest level yet recorded. As a result, the overall Approval Index has fallen to the lowest level yet recorded for this President. …
Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. This is the second straight day that his overall approval rating has been below 50% among Likely Voters nationwide. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove. See recent demographic highlights from the Presidential Tracking Poll. For more measures of the President’s performance, see Obama By the Numbers.
These updates are based upon nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. More than two-thirds of the interviews for today’s update were completed after the President’s nationally televised press conference on Wednesday night. The first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the press conference will be released on Sunday.
What happened? Besides the distraction of putting his foot in his mouth over the Gates arrest, Obama said nothing new or even particularly interesting on Wednesday night about health care. The only really new statement made by Obama was that he would approve tax hikes on the middle class as long as they didn’t primarily pay for the reform bill. Until July 22nd, only Robert Gibbs had hinted at middle-class tax hikes for health-care reform.
Even that was a subtle point lost on most viewers, and certainly not covered in the media. People took a more visceral lesson from the press conference, which was that Obama has run out of things to say about ObamaCare. Small wonder he declared that “the time for talk is through,” because it certainly is for him. Even the normally complaisant media declared his performance “lackluster” — in this case, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman on MS-NBC, of all places:
I’ve been covering Barack Obama for a few years, and it’s usually crystal clear what he is up to. Not last night. This is the first time I’ve asked myself: What was THAT all about?
His prime time press conference was worse than a waste of time. He spent an hour (with the aide of a soporific White House press corps) pouring sand (one grain at a time) into the already-slowing gears of the machinery of health-care reform.
He made no real news on health care, but DID make news on race relations with his discussion of the Skip Gates case — thereby obscuring the topic he supposedly wanted to feature.
Tomorrow, Rasmussen will have the first rolling average of polling completely taken after the presser. It will take until Tuesday to see what the complete polling shows after Obama had to take back his asinine remarks about that incident and issue a non-apology apology to the officer involved in the arrest. Somehow, I don’t think the results will give him much momentum.